Might Bite tops 27 contenders for Gold Cup following latest scratchings

Wed 14 Feb 2018

By staff

Might Bite is one of 27 horses still in contention for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup following the scratchings stage for the six championship races at next month's Festival.

Nicky Henderson's charge is a best priced 7-2 favourite for the blue riband following his victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Other leading contenders includes last year winner Sizing John, trained by Jessica Harrington, and Colin Tizzard's Native River, who was third in last year's renewal and made a successful reappearance in the Denman Chase at Newbury last weekend.

Sizing John is one of 15 remaining Irish hopefuls, with Coney Island (Eddie Harty), Killultagh Vic (Willie Mullins) and Road To Respect (Noel Meade) all still in the mix.

A total of 11 horses have been scratched including Bristol De Mai, Cloudy Dream and the 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree.

Altior and Douvan are the headline acts among 21 remaining entries for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Henderson-trained Altior proved he had lost none of his ability when making a sparkling return in the Game Spirit at Newbury, while Willie Mullins' Douvan, who was at one stage ruled out for the season, could return in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park this coming Saturday.

Altior - Betfair Exchange Chase - Newbury - Racingfotos Altior heads 21 entries left in the Champion Chase (Racingfotos)

Mullins could also call upon Dublin Chase winner Min, Un De Sceaux and has not yet taken out Yorkhill, despite his disappointing run at Leopardstown at the start of the month.

Last year's Champion Chase hero Special Tiara looks set to defend his crown for Henry de Bromhead, but nine horses have been taken out, including Ruth Jefferson's Waiting Patiently ahead of his run at Ascot this weekend.

Waiting Patiently is still in the Ryanair Chase, along with 27 others.

Last year's winner Un De Sceaux, Top Notch, Fox Norton, Min and Douvan all still hold an entry in the two-mile-five-furlong Grade One.

The 16 horses to have been scratched include Double Shuffle, Road To Respect and Total Recall.

Buveur D'Air is long odds-on to retain his crown in the Unibet Champion Hurdle and will face a maximum of 18 rivals, barring any late supplementary entries.

Faugheen is still in the mix, along with stablemates Yorkhill and Min, while Buveur D'Air looks set to be joined by his stable companion My Tent Or Yours, who has finished second in the Champion Hurdle on three occasions.

Just four horses have been taken out and they include last year's Triumph Hurdle winner Defi Du Seuil, who has failed to rediscover his best form so far this season, and The New One, who is set to step up in trip for the Sun Bet Stayers' Hurdle.

Horse Racing - Betfair Chase Day - Haydock Racecourse The New One has been taken out of the Champion Hurdle (PA)

The New One is one of 26 remaining contenders for that three-mile event. His main rivals include Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae, Jedd O'Keeffe's stable star Sam Spinner, last year's Albert Bartlett winner Penhill and Yanworth, who still has the option of returning to the smaller obstacles despite running over fences so far this term.

Twelve horses have been removed including the 2015 winner Cole Harden, Bapaume and Willoughby Court.

Apple's Jade is still in the Champion Hurdle and the Stayers' Hurdle, but connections have insisted she will bid for successive victories in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, for which she will be a hot favourite.

Gordon Elliott's six-year-old probably has most to fear from a battalion of entries for her former trainer Mullins including Benie Des Dieux, Let's Dance and Vroum Vroum Mag.

The 27 remaining entries also include the Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi, who is still in the Stayers' Hurdle.

The six scratchings include Copper Kay and Dame Rose. 

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